International Journal of Neuroscience

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Reducing the gap in neuroscience research between developed and developing countries Aftab Ahmad & Shoji Komai To cite this article: Aftab Ahmad & Shoji Komai (2015): Reducing the gap in neuroscience research between developed and developing countries, International Journal of Neuroscience To link to this article:

Published online: 22 May 2015.

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Date: 05 November 2015, At: 14:07

International Journal of Neuroscience, 2012; Early Online: 1–2 Copyright© 2015 Informa Healthcare USA, Inc. ISSN: 0020-7454 print / 1543-5245 online DOI: 10.3109/00207454.2015.1013194


Reducing the gap in neuroscience research between developed and developing countries Aftab Ahmad and Shoji Komai

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Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST), Ikoma, Nara, Japan

The field of neurosciences has helped us not only to understand the structure and function of the brain but also the relationship between the brain and cognition, emotions and behavior to solve individual and societal problems [1]. Both neurologic and psychiatric disorders are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality, affecting nearly half a billion persons globally [2]. In addition, brain disorders result in at least 25% of deaths and disabilities worldwide [3]. The number of new cases and death due to neurological disorders are on the increase in developed countries [4], but in most developing countries, little data are available. There is a recent increase in awareness of brain disorders and governments, foundations, the United Nations (UN) agencies and health organizations are focusing on neurological problems in developing countries, but the prevalence and burden of neurological diseases in developing countries is poorly understood [2,3]. There is a marked increase in the number of publications in the area of neurosciences from developing countries compared to developed ones (Table 1). If we compare the number of neuroscience publications in 2003 and 2013, a percentage increase of more than 300 was observed in China, Iran, Egypt and Pakistan while in most developed countries (USA, UK, Germany, Canada, France and Italy) the percentage increase in the same time period was less than 100% and was even a negative percentage of 4.82 in Japan. There is a significant increase in the number of neuroscience publications in both developed and developing countries, yet there are far more publications from developed countries. For 10 representative developed countries (leading publishing countries in area of neurosciences), there were 34 694 publications in 2003 and 50 800 in 2013, while in 10 representative developing countries (leading publishing countries Correspondence: Aftab Ahmad, Graduate School of Biological Sciences, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Ikoma, Nara, Japan. Tel.: 81-743-725418. E-mail: [email protected]

in area of neurosciences) there were 2783 and 9335 publications, respectively. Therefore, the percentage of publications in developed countries was 1147 times more in 2003 and 444 times in 2013 compared to representative developing countries (Table 1). In addition, among a total of 150 developed and developing countries, 67 developing countries had published fewer than 10 articles in the area of neurosciences ( in 2013. In order to promote brain research, the United States has launched “Brain Initiative” (http://www. and similarly the European Union has started “Human Brain Project” ( The human brain project will involve hundreds of neuroscientists, 112 institutes, 24 countries and 12 research areas. Both of these projects will greatly boost the neuroscience research all over the world, but there is no such research project specifically for developing countries. Consequently, most of the developing countries largely rely on developed countries for funding and innovation. In addition, many developing countries lack medical personnel (neurologists), financial and infrastructural resources [5] and the research and innovation gaps between developed and developing countries are still quite wide. These gaps can be filled by more collaborative research between developed and developing countries (joint research projects, scientific exchange, etc.), which will not only train more researchers in the field, but also will improve research infrastructure in developing countries.

Declaration of Interest The authors report no conflicts of interest. The authors alone are responsible for the content and writing of the article. 1


A. Ahmad and S. Komai

Table 1.

The number of published articles in area of neurosciences from selected developed and developing countries∗ . Developed countries (citable articles)


Country name



Percentage increase

Country name



Percentage increase

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

US UK Germany Japan Canada France Italy Netherlands Australia Spain Total

14 870 3695 3691 3335 2273 2017 1733 1075 1056 949 34 694

20 385 5665 5496 3174 3678 2724 3100 2159 2505 1914 50 800

37 53.31 48.90 −4.82 61.81 35.05 78.88 100.83 137.21 101.68 46.42

Brazil China India Turkey Argentina Iran S. Africa Thailand Egypt Pakistan

898 846 422 308 135 55 52 31 26 10 2783

1553 4975 821 705 325 476 155 123 154 48 9335

72.93 488.06 94.54 128.9 140.74 765.45 198.1 296.77 492.3 380 235.42

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Developing countries (citable articles)

SCImago. (2007). SJR — SCImago Journal & Country Rank. Retrieved December 8, 2014, from

References 1. Diamond A, Amso D. Contributions of neuroscience to our understanding of cognitive development. Curr Dir Psychol Sci 2008;17:136–41. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8721.2008. 00563.x 2. Chandra V, Pandav R, Laxminarayan R, et al. Neurological disorders. Disease control priorities in developing countries. 2nd ed. Washington, DC: World Bank; 2006: Chapter 32.

3. Silberberg D. The high impact of neurologic disorders in developing countries: the struggle for global recognition. Neurology 2011;77:307–8. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182285da9 4. Pritchard C, Mayers A, Baldwin D. Changing patterns of neurological mortality in the 10 major developed countries–1979–2010. Public Health 2013;127:357–68. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2012.12.018 5. Wasay M, Khatri IA, Kaul S. Stroke in South Asian countries. Nat Rev Neurol 2014;10:135–43. doi: 10.1038/nrneurol.2014.13

International Journal of Neuroscience

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